As of last Friday, I stayed with my couchsurfing host, J, until Monday afternoon. I learned a great deal about Japanese Buddhism and even participated in a 10-minute morning chant, "Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo" which translates to:
Nam = "to devote oneself"
M-yoho = "the Mystic Law"
Renge = "Lotus Flower"
Kyo = "Sutra" aka the voice or teaching of Buddha
Although I have always been surrounded by Buddhism - - I never took the time to look into the main principles and teaching. J was kind enough to lend me some great books and to my surprise, many of the main principles of Buddhism are aligned with what I believe in. I think it's great when one can find something they can relate to through old texts and books. The most interesting principle that I took away from this experience was re-learning the concept of Karma. It is a term that has been used quite often in various cultures yet I honestly have lost the true meaning of it. Karma is the action that you put and the results you get from it. It really has nothing to do with good or bad luck. What you put out there whether it be good intentions or bad - - are the cause and effect outcomes you will see.
Needless to say, my couch-surfing experience (as always) turned out to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
In addition, I was invited to a traditional Swiss dinner by a woman I met on the bus ride from Antwerp, Belgium to Amsterdam. Apparently, when I stepped off the bus for the first time in Amsterdam - I had a look of extreme confusion...She, V, was so sweet to invite me to dinner as well as a free all day classical music and jazz concerts at the Conservatory of Amsterdam.
Free classical music - my favorite; violin and piano!
A happy woman feeding the birdies by the Conservatory of Amsterdam.
My oodles of noodles I made at my couch-hosts' place - Gotta love pesto.
Tomato face time!
Cute little bakery - my tummy really appreciated it.
The most amazing caramel and walnut dessert ever...
See the turtle in the middle? Lots of Marzipan animals!
Trying to understand what they were talking about. :)
Something was very very funny!
Spiced Pear in red wine and chocolate..Wow.
Another successful trip to somewhere I have not been. This 'one day at a time' has been working out quite nicely. Right now I am in Prague and will write more when I have a chance! Have a fantastic Monday everyone!